ESL One Manila 2016: Team Empire Reverse Wombo Combo (0:43)KingR"s Reverse Wombo Combo completely devastates Team Secret. (0:43)

After two intensive days of Dota 2 action, the dust is cleared for the playoffs for ESL One Manila. The final four teams, to lớn the surprise of many, are Fnatic (FNC), Team Liquid (TL), Wings Gaming, & Team Empire.

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Two of the direct invitees, Team Secret và EHOME, did not qualify out of the group stage. Both lineups were recently revamped và loaded with promise, but were placed in the same pool as the other & ultimately fell lớn the pressure. Despite the additions of world-class players like Daryl Koh "iceiceice" Pei Xiang & Lu "Fenrir" Chao (EHOME) and the combination of Artour "Arteezy" Babaev and Saahil "UNiVeRsE" Arora (Team Secret), the adjustment in strategy and acclimation of new talent looked to hinder synergy rather than enhance it.Editor"s Picks
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The hightlight: Team Empire against Team Secret

This was the best series of the day. While Team Empire lacked the star power of Team Secret, it came in with the edge: taking the win in the first matchup on day one. The stakes were high with the winner advancing forward lớn the final day. In the end, both teams exchanged blows và showcased just how beautiful DOTA 2 could be played.

The first game was a battle between Team Secret"s Jacky "EternaLEnVy" Mao"s Clinkz and Roman "Ramzes666" Kushnarev"s most-played anh hùng, Gyrocopter. To gain the lead, EternaLEnVy"s Clinkz, with the aid of Arteezy "s Invoker, picked off hero-after-nhân vật while the rest of his team farmed and climbed the income ladder. Team Empire could only respond with forced fights around Gyrocopter until its pick-off heroes (Beastmaster & Batrider) picked up key items. By then, Team Secret mounted an incredible gold and experience lead và outmaneuvered the opposition with superior maps control. If Team Empire went for a Roshan, Team Secret would trade with a barracks" push. If a solo pick-off was made, Team Secret split the maps. Eventually, Team Secret snowballed its control into lớn the phối lead.

Team Empire"s victories were a work of art, though -- perfectly-executed team fights, incredibly fast rotations, & a priority on at least one hero that showcased superior vision. While Team Secret took the first game in signature hit-and-run style, Team Empire crashed inlớn its usually elusive sầu opponent và took care of business. The highlights between game two and three were numerous, but they"re all worth watching again & again; it"s Dota 2 team fighting at its very best. Perhaps the best game of the day, game two of the series, was a battle of absolute perseverance, highlight Rubiông xã plays from Team Empire, and the magnificent "wombo comboes."

All in all, Team Empire exited its series victory over Team Secret with contender status. This team is absolutely legitimate.

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Team Liquid, shown here taking on Team Secret at the Shanghai Major.Tyên ổn Franco for

The other qualifiers

Fnatic (4-0, Group B)

The surprising and dominant team lớn emerge from Group B was Fnatic. It crushed through EHOME, but also ran through the stout Team Empire in a variety of ways, including late game play, constant early rotations & fights, và team fighting execution. The tape is out on Fnatic & it"s around the star player, Zheng "Miduan" Yeik Nai. He gathered 52 kills, 12 deaths, & 49 assists over its four games with just two heroes (Invoker and Pugna). While the hero selection may seem limited, Miduan is versatile -- he"s excellent with Templar Assassin, Puông xã, và even Batrider. And just lượt thích its middle-laner, Fnatic is not just an early-game snowball team. It can play a pushing strategy, late-game execution, rotation and pick-off, or just a straight individual skill game. They team is primed for a tournament victory.

Team Liquid (4-0, Group A)

The runner-up team from the last Major showed its usual razor-sharp play during day one. The playbook for this team is out: aggressive supports and two top-heavy cores. Their strength could also be considered a weakness; shut down one of their cores và the rest of the lineup crumbles too quickly lớn recover. It"s good news for Team Liquid fans that both Adrian "FATA-" Trinks & Lasse "MATUMBAMAN" Urpalainen are incredibly consistent và rank amongst the top-half of damage-dealers & net worth in each game. Group A was a breeze for the powerhouse lineup with only one real game against Wings Gaming that truly posed as a threat. It could be considered the favorites with Team Secret out & for good reason.

Wings Gaming (4-4, Group A)

It was a tumultuous couple of days for Wings Gaming. It looked svào in their losses & flashed dominance throughout the event. When matched up against an execution-heavy team in Team Liquid, it fell only because of maps control, but its defense, stalling ability, và overall resilience was admirable Team Liquid claimed six Aegis"s. And against compLexity Gaming, it showcased incredible versatility in drafts. The team played snowball heroes like Slark and Queen of Pain & then switched it up to a core Venomancer & converted the offlaner inkhổng lồ another carry player. If anything, Wings Gaming is everything that a dark horse defines as: unpredictable và the ability khổng lồ take a game from any team.


The bottom line for ESL One Manila is Team Liquid and the rest of the paông chồng. It"s the team with the most success in recent history & presents little reason to be bet against. It could be a tough road with all the opposition in scorching size, but this is the favorite and it"ll prove it on finals day.